A Softer Side of Pesto...

I've had the largest, loveliest bunch of basil growing on my terrace. Fairly surprising, since I am the one who planted it... I have a black thumb. Though my (ridiculously) lily white skin hates the overwhelming abundance of Spanish sunshine, my herbs have exploded under its warm kisses. The rosemary and basil have grown so big, I've started cutting them for bouquets in order to keep them manageable! I've used them in marinades and even some rosemary has made an appearance in a peach galette, but I've had yet to make a recipe solely focused on basil as the star ingredient. But what to make? Then it hit me! Obviously it was pesto time! Though I adore a good pesto, I sometimes find the flavors to be a bit too brash... While listening to Fleetwood Mac tell me to 'play it how you feel it,' I realized I needed to just play around a bit to make it a little more my speed.

Most pesto recipes revolve around tossing about six basic ingredients into the food processor:

Basil (2-3 Packed Cups)
Olive Oil (1/2ish Cup)
Parmesan (1/2 Cup)
Garlic (2-4 Cloves)
Pine Nuts (3 TBSP)
Salt (One Pinch)

The exciting thing about recipes with such simply, yet flavor-filled ingredients is that it leaves a lot of room to play, but since the stand-by is already so tasty, you don't have to deviate much to make something unique, but not too risque... For the most part, I followed that standard recipe... But couldn't resist adding just a few, tasty additions... Since many a pesto tastes like Springtime punching you in the face, with its apologetically vibrant flavors, I thought would sweeten it up and turn it into more of a kiss on the cheek.

So, to the above recipe, I added:
A sweet, thick Balsamic Vinegar (1.5 tsp)
Toasted Almond Halves (5 TBSP)
Gruyere (1/3 Cup)
Sweet Paprika (Tiny Pinch)
For my palette--It. Is. Perfection. Still has that fresh, bright flavor which is so unique to a good pesto, but the balsamic, warm touch of paprika, and toasted almonds add a mellowing sweetness that plays well off the sharp and salty addition of the Gruyere.



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An American girl living in Spain...
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